Many families of grand estates and members of the nobility ignored their servants or treated them badly. They were there to serve them and that was all that was necessary. This was not the case for the Ingham and Swann families. The Ingham families lived in Cavendon Hall and were led by the Earl of Mowbray. The Swann family served them as servants, but also as protectors and friends. This type of unusual bond between two families is the heart of "Cavendon Hall" by Barbara Taylor Bradford, a novel about family and loyalty in Edwardian England.
"Cavendon Hall" is seen through the eyes of many characters. There is Charles Ingham, Earl of Mowbray and head of the family. The Earl of Mowbray has a beautiful, but fragile wife and six children including two sons and four very different daughters. Another perspective of the novel is from one of his daughters, his beautiful and kind second daughter Daphne who everyone believes will marry a duke, but a heartbreaking tragedy changes her plans forever. There is also Charlotte Swann, head of the Swann family who watches out for every member of her own family, but is also fiercely loyal and protective of the Ingham family. Numerous characters including a handsome Ingham cousin, a talented young fashion designer in the Swann family, and young and carefree servants make up this novel about family, loyalty, secrets, lies, tragedy, love, and passion.
"Cavendon Hall" is such fun to read. It is very similar to "Downton Abbey", but in more of a soap opera style. Bradford is famous for creating light, fluffy, and enjoyable reads and "Cavendon Hall" is no different. You will become absolutely immersed in the lives of the Ingham and Swann families. You'll love the kind and decent Earl of Mowbray, adore the four daughters, respect the Swann family and their loyalty, and fall in love with dashing cousin Hugo. These are characters that draw you in.
Bradford's attention to detail and powerful descriptions are also wonderful. She describes the sights and sounds of Cavendon Hall perfectly, allows readers to visualize all the gorgeous dresses little Cecily Swann designs, and also pays attention to a country on the brink of World War I and explains all the historical events surrounding the time period.
There will be a sequel to this novel that will continue to look at the very parallel and intertwined lives of the Ingham and Swann families. Here's looking forward to more tales from Cavendon Hall!
To purchase "Cavendon Hall": http://www.amazon.com/Cavendon-Hall-Barbara-Taylor-Bradford/dp/1250032350
For more information on Barbara Taylor Bradford: http://www.barbarataylorbradford.com/